In 1951 Michael Jenkins, then fourteen years old, spent the summer with “the aunts in Flanders”. His “aunts” were a group of elderly women whose connection to his family had never been explained but they immediately embraced him and he quickly became entwined in the lives of an extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins. The warmth of their life awakes Michael to the complicated world of relationships as he falls in love for the first time.
Michael Jenkin’s vivid memoir of the summer that changed his life has become a much-loved classic, with its evocative portraits of Tante Yvonne and the other aunts, the raw memories of two world wars that still scar the Flanders plain and Michael’s unravelling of the secret at the heart of this family.
Michael Jenkins served as the British Ambassador to the Netherlands from 1988 to 1993, among other postings in a long career as a diplomat. He was knighted in 1990 and died in 2013.
“Artfully adds up to a portrait of a family, a time and a place… A very charming memoir.” Penelope Lively, ‘The New York Times’
“A seminal experience of life so beautifully recorded that the book becomes a small icon to be treasured not only on the shelf of a personal library, but in the mind.” P.D. James
“A radiant book… A whole spectrum of colours and lights, of delights and elegances, of wistfulness and love.” Dirk Bogarde, ‘Daily Telegraph’
“This golden world which seemed to have survived from another century… survive(s) in this enchanting and affectionate book.” ‘Mail on Sunday’
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